The FDA is finally stepping up to remove trans fat from a list of chemicals known as GRAS – or generally recognized as safe. This morning, the Food and Drug Administration opened up a 60-day public call for comments, scientific data, and other information they can use to help guide their decision to issue an all-out ban on trans fat, also known as partially hydrogenated oil.
“Based on new scientific evidence and the findings of expert scientific panels, the [FDA] has tentatively determined that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), which are the primary dietary source of industrially-produced trans fatty acids, or trans fat, are not generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for any use in food based on current scientific evidence establishing the health risks associated with the consumption of trans fat, and therefore that PHOs are food additives,” says the formal announcement made by the agency.
If this is finalized, the FDA says “food manufacturers would no longer be permitted to sell PHOs.”
That’s news that has the dietetic community happy as heart-healthy clams. We reached out to several thought leaders from the dietetic community to hear their reactions to the trans fat ban news first.
Those foods are suspect, not only because of the link between trans fats and cardiovascular disease, but because of wide-reaching inflammation from a host of artificial products. This could give people a reminder to eat real food. — Mary Hartley, RD, our resident nutrition expert and a NYC-based dietitian (more…)
For six ounces of raspberries, that usually mold in a day or two, I pay my grocer $4.00. This seems ludicrous, and so raspberries are a “treat” that we get on sale occasionally. My grocery budget is admittedly larger than a lot of families, but it still has a strict cap and has to go a long way.
About six months ago, I visited the Big Box Warehouse Store in my city to pick up something with a friend. I was shocked. Those same raspberries, in a package three times the size, were the same price. And the kicker? They were organic. And I found that to be the case over and over.
I almost exclusively buy my fruits and vegetables at this warehouse store now, along with a number of other items that are always on our “healthy” grocery list. I get them at a fraction of the cost, and when anyone is trying to stretch their dollar further at the grocery store, less cost and more food is always a win.
Yes, the total at the end of your receipt might be higher than what you typically pay, but don’t let that initial sticker shock weigh you down. Remember, you’re getting at least two or three times the food for that price. Where you couldn’t buy raspberries every week before, now you can. And it doesn’t stop at the berries.
Last year, Lisa Johnson conducted an experiment to feed her family on a poverty level budget exclusively at Whole Foods for 30 days. She pulled it off, with wine and money to spare. Just imagine what you could accomplish with that budget at a place like Sam’s or Costco, both of which accept SNAP, or food stamps.
We’ll share with you our shopping tips for navigating the store and getting the most out of your time and money. As well, we’ll share with you the healthiest must-have food items there (at least at our location). (more…)
The china said it all.
When Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN and author of “Read It Before You Eat It,” inherited her husband’s great grandmother’s antique china, she unpacked a lot of salad plates, but was miffed when the dinner plates were nowhere to be found. She called her aunt, who had long been steward of the china, to investigate. Turns out, the salad plates were the dinner plates.
“The dinner plates from the 1920s were like our salad plates today,” said Bonnie. “They just don’t compare to the giant plates at restaurants.”
Portion size has grown exponentially over the last 100 years. Factors like plate size, familial dynamics, and monetary investment in our food have contributed to an increased average portion size, and in turn, made America fat.
Bonnie was quick to point out that at fancy restaurants, the plate sizes are smaller, and customers tend to value those limited portions more because of the high cost. On the flip side, diners, drive ins, and dives are serving up “brontosaurus bones” on the cheap. No matter the price, people are going to eat what’s in front of them because if they paid for it, they’re gonna finish it. And Americans love to get more bang for their buck. “Value is very often associated with volume,” said Bonnie.
“If you feel like you have to eat as opposed to choosing to eat, then you belong to the ‘clean-plate club’ and it’s time to cancel your membership,” she told us. (more…)
Picture this: the doors have slid open, the gust of cold air hits us, and now we’re faced with the 45,000 products the average supermarket carries. Aside from feeling purely overwhelmed at deciding what and how to choose what goes into our carts, along with our rushed, over-scheduled lives, we seem to spend more time thinking about what goes ON our bodies (like clothes and shoes) than what goes IN them.
So many food labels are difficult to decode – perhaps the reason why 60-70 percent of what we purchase is unplanned. We often fall prey to items that wear descriptive names, like “natural” and “wholesome” and “organic”…these words are like magnets attracting us to their otherwise less attractive products. Studies have shown that when a food is deemed superior through a name, it is more likely that people would expect the food to be beneficial to their health. Trans-fat free fries, baked chips, and organic candies are all surrounded by health halos, yet some halos are far from angelic.
But you shouldn’t have to be a mathematician, a librarian, or a dietitian to buy the right foods. The food label should be like the table of contents of a book – it should tell us what’s inside. Unfortunately, misleading labels lurk throughout the store and I’m here today to give you the inside scoop on what’s really going on between the lines. Here are a few examples of some personal favorite ‘wall of shame’ claims where food companies are selling sound bites instead of sound advice. (more…)
With a new year comes tons of resolutions. Most people vow to lose weight with lots of exercising, but they forget to change their diet to accommodate their workouts. While a healthy diet can help shed pounds effectively, eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself. A healthy diet should leave you feeling energized and stabilize your mood, not to mention satisfied. With thousands of diets out on the market we recommend choosing from one of the four diets: low-fat diet, low-carb diet, low-sodium diet, and high-fiber diet.
When you combine the primary principles of each of these very basic diet ideals, you get a pretty well-rounded healthful approach to eating that can be summarized as “Paleo-ish,” according to Biggest Loser dietitian Cheryl Forberg, RD. Since you are eating no grains (low carb), no dairy (lower fat), nothing processed (no added sodium), and unlimited fruits and vegetables (high fiber) it becomes strikingly similar to the Paleo, or caveman, diet.
Bonnie Taub-Dix, author of Read It Before You Eat It and nutrition expert in New York, also commented on how all four diets could work well together if one chooses to eat a low–fat, low-carb, low-sodium, and high-fiber diet.
“We have a diabetes epidemic and a high-fiber and low-carb diet can help control blood sugar levels. There is a large percentage of people with diabetes who should keep an eye on sodium and fat intake because eating a low-fat and -sodium diet can control heart disease and blood pressure.”
Learn more about each of these diets and see how one or some might suit your health and weight loss goals. (more…)